Study Predicts 25 Uncoated Woodfree Paper Machines at High Risk of Closure in Europe

June 8, 2011 - The combined pressures of overcapacity and high input costs in the uncoated woodfree paper market have been impacting producer profitability in Europe, making it inevitable that some European paper machines will face closure, according to RISI's new European Uncoated Woodfree Papers Risk of Closure Study.

Declining Western European demand and the addition of new capacity in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America could force the closure of up to 25 machines (1.5 million tonnes of capacity), potentially turning Western Europe into a net importer of uncoated woodfree papers by 2015.

According to RISI, demand for uncoated woodfree paper in Western Europe has declined at an annual rate of 3.3% since 2007.

"It's clear that a lot of uncoated woodfree capacity in Europe will shut, and this study takes the step of identifying the actual machines and mills at risk of closure," said Sampo Timonen, Director of European Graphic Papers at RISI, and author of the study.

Sampo adds however, that while "high pulp, recovered paper and energy costs threaten the profitability of non-integrated producers, integrated producers and net sellers of pulp or electricity profit from selling the energy they do not require," Timonen said.

To reach these conclusions, Timonen analyzed 65 paper machines and 29 producers of xerographic, printing and converting papers in Europe.

The European Uncoated Woodfree Papers Risk of Closure Study reveals machine risk of closure by company, evaluating which companies may face bankruptcy and which machines might face forced closure, planned closure or potential divestments, and including companies likely to participate in industry consolidation.